Review by Dave521
It's not the best...but at least it's fun.
How can you go wrong when you mix two awesome things together: pirates and space? Ok, so some games do mess up when they try to blend great concepts together, such as Marvel: Rise of the Imperfects or Pimp My Ride. Rogue Galaxy is not one of these games. It's a fun little RPG that has a whole ton of stuff to do.
Rogue Galaxy's graphics aren't exactly Square-Enix's, but they're still ok. If you like cel-shading, then this game is right up your alley. It's done pretty well, but the FMVs look a little strange at times with the cel-shaded characters.
The music and sound are pretty good as well. Like the graphics, while it's not a masterpiece, it's still pretty good. The music fits the environments that you explore very well, and the sound effects are done quite nicely. My big issue was the auto-chat, in which your characters speak random lines while fighting and exploring. It got old after a while, but thankfully, there's an option to turn it off. Voice acting is good, however, some of the emotional scenes in the game could've used some improvement. Some characters had tears in their eyes in the game, but sounded almost perfectly normal. It's a mixed bag, some scenes are very well acted, others were not.
Rogue Galaxy's gameplay is what really shined for me. I loved this battle system, and the only reason I avoided some battles was because I wanted to conserve some items. The game has random encounters, but they show up in the area, rather than a different screen. Your characters have two weapons: one melee and one ranged. The enemies appear on the screen, and you just let loose. Mash your attack buttons and you'll start slashing, stabbing, shooting, enemies. You can use abilities to attack enemies, and use sort of a limit break kinda move to do large amounts of damage to some enemies. But be careful! You have an action gauge that depletes when you attack, use items, or use abilities. When it depletes, you have to wait for it to fill up all the way, which only takes about 3 seconds. You can instantly refill it by blocking an enemy attack though. It's a nice mechanic that keeps you on your toes and gives a sense of strategy to the game.
Enemies are tough in this game. Even at high levels, some enemy attacks will still take a huge chunk of your life, so thankfully, you can guard to reduce the damage. You can also move out of the way to dodge some attacks as well (unlike in FFXII, where if an enemy wanted to attack you, tough crap, you're getting hit) which is nice if you're close to death. Some enemies have quirks to them, as well. Some of them you have to jump to hit, others you have to break their barrier with a weapon. Bosses are essentially the same. Regardless of your defense, one good hit can knock you into critical, sometimes even killing you completely. It does get to be a bit frustrating at times, constantly having to go into the menu to heal up after an attack. Also, sometimes the camera, normally pretty decent, decides to zoom right in on your character so you can't see anything, which can be quite a nuisance. However, despite these flaws, the total control you have over a character is very well executed.
You gain abilities and stat ups through the revelation grid. Basically, it's a board with a bunch of squares that you put items into in order to learn new abilities. When you complete a section, the skill is learned, and more things open up. Some of these things you can buy, others you'll have to kill enemies for. You'll have no problems when you have an item you can put in; when you go to the menu, the option "Revelation" will start flashing, so you'll know when you have something to use and who you can use it on.
There's also a ton to do in Rogue Galaxy. There's weapon forging (by a frog, no less), insectron tournaments (where your insects that you can collect fight other insects), a bounty hunting system with rankings, optional boss fights, a factory where you can build items...there's a whole lotta stuff to do in this game. Not to mention the New Game+ you get after beating it.
There are two major problems with Rogue Galaxy that keep it from being a classic. The first is the exploration aspect. There are teleporters that you can use to teleport from place to place, as well as to save the game, that's good. The problem is before you hit them. Between save points are long, tedious hallways with nothing in them outside of monsters and treasure chests. There's no puzzles, outside of the occasional thinking circle in which you have to use an item. It does get dull after a while exploring, especially at the end of the game, an ungodly long dungeon with very little to it.
But the big problem with Rogue Galaxy is its story, and this is where many hardcore RPG players may be turned off. The game puts you in the shoes of Jaster Rogue, a young man who wants to escape his desert planet and go into space (heard this before?). Mistaken for a famous bounty hunter, he is taken aboard a pirate ship and is eventually thrust into a journey to save the galaxy from an evil corporation bent on ruling it (again, sound familiar?)
It's a very cliche story, with very cliche characters. You'll be able to see most of the major plot twists coming long before they are revealed. Character development is done right at the end of the game, and some of the minor characters are touched on at the last possible moment. It feels kinda rushed. Furthermore, no character really attracts you. There were some scenes that definitely pulled me in a bit, but even then, everything was typical and something I have seen before.
-Fun battle system that gives you more control than FFXII
-Cel-shading is pretty well done, if you like that
-Good music and sound
-Lots and LOTS of stuff to do
-Tough enemies late in the game keeps it interesting
-Dungeons very generic and dull
-Typical storyline, very unoriginal
Despite the problems with the story, Rogue Galaxy's battle system and extras will keep you playing. There's just so much to do in this game, and it's a decent value for $40. However, if you're an RPGer that likes well told, original stories, you may want to give it a rental first.
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